PIL plea demands judicial probe into fire at airshow

PIL plea demands judicial probe into fire at airshow

The massive fire during the airshow on February 23, 2019, destroyed about 300 cars. FILE PHOTO

Seven months after a massive fire destroyed about 300 cars at the Yelahanka airbase during the Aero India 2019, a PIL petition has been filed in the high court, demanding that a one-man judicial commission probe the incident. 

Wg Cdr (Retd) G B Athri and advocate Geetha Mishra filed the petition on Monday, accusing the Ministry of Defence, the HAL, the chief of the fire force and the Bengaluru police commissioner of having failed to prevent the incident. “Despite the guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the organisers had not taken any precautionary measures while organising such a mega event,” according to the petition. 

The fire broke out in the parking lot near Gate 5 outside the venue of the biennial event on February 23. 

The petitioners argue that the organisers of such a large event must have made public the details of the venue and the site plan, clearly indicating the parking lots. CCTV cameras must have been installed at all vulnerable locations and monitored at a centralised control room. 

But this was not the case. As the entire crowd was busy watching the airshow, the absence of a control room and CCTV surveillance in the parking lot hindered information dissemination, the PIL states. 

The petitioners have demanded a probe by a one-man judicial commission under the Inquiries Act and urged the court to direct the authorities concerned to submit a detailed report on the action taken so far. 

The court is likely to hear the petition on Tuesday.